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Rob Paulsen Brings All His Voices To Pensacon

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Chances are you’ve seen some of the hundreds of TV show or movies that Rob Paulsen has been in. Chances are also that you wouldn’t recognize him until he opened his mouth to speak.

You could spend a few days looking over Rob Paulsen’s page on IMDB. He’s worked on Johnny Quest, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Pinky and the Brain and l don’t have time to go into the rest. Paulsen will be visiting Pensacola this weekend as a guest at Pensacon. He spoke about his career with WUWF's Bob Barrett, who noted that they are about the same age and both grew up watching those brilliant Loony Tunes cartoons. So he asked how much he loved the work of the voice of all those characters, Mel Blanc.

"Oh boy! I don't know that it's calculable, and (that makes me) really no different from hundreds of millions of other humans,” said Paulson. “Ihad the great, good fortune of working with Mr. Blanc once. And he was probably 80ish, maybe (in his) late 70s. I think he died when he was 81 or 82 (Editor’s note: Mel Blanc died on July 10, 1989 at age 81). Man, it was quite remarkable. We were working on a Jetsons project at Hanna Barbera. The late, great Gordon Hunt who was the director there at Hanna Barbera, and really gave me my break (was there). I was walking into the session and he said ‘Hey Rob, Mel is here today. You want to sit next to Mel?' and I went 'Oh my God are you kidding me? Of course!' So I sat next to him and I shook his hand, mustered up the courage and said pretty much the following: 'Mr. Blanc, I'm such a huge fan. Thank you so much. Um, would you mind if I — and before I got it out of my mouth he said (in the Bugs Bunny voice) 'Nyeah what's up doc!' And oh my God, Bob, I honestly was incapable of speaking! And I think that now that I've had the incredible good fortune to do a lot of fun stuff.”

“I would never in a million years compare myself to Mr. Blanc, that's for other people to do when I'm dust. But in terms of knowing how deeply people are affected, and in my case it's always joyfully, by the characters that I've had a hand in creating, I love to do just what Mr. Blanc did for me when people know that I'm Pinky or Yakko or Raphael  or whatever. It just makes them so incredibly happy, and probably me even more so. So I can imagine no matter how many times Mel did that for people all around the world, it was never not special. It's a wonderful thing to be able to do."

While Paulsen is known primarily for his voice work, he has appeared as an actor in movies like Body Double and Eyes of Fire and episodes of St. Elsewhere and MacGyver. He also had a role in a little known film called Mutant on the Bounty. I asked why he made that career decision. After much laughter, he replied: "Three words: the checks cleared. I got hired, people paid me and I cashed the check. If I did it, I own it. And if it's on IMDB or Youtube, I can't come back all these years later and say 'well that was really a piece of junk'. Yes, they paid me and I took the money. So I won it. And thank you very much for bringing it up." Yes, there was more laughter here.

Rob and Bob also talked about Rob's work on Johnny Quest, characters he would love to be someday and how he interacts with fans at conventions like Pensacon. You can hear the full conversation at the link below.

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This is Bob Barrett & Rob Paulsen's full conversation

Rob Paulsen will be a guest at Pensacon this Friday through Sunday at the Pensacola Bay Center and all over town. 

Bob Barrett has been a radio broadcaster since the mid 1970s and has worked at stations from northern New York to south Florida and, oddly, has been able to make a living that way. He began work in public radio in 2001. Over the years he has produced nationally syndicated programs such as The Environment Show and The Health Show for Northeast Public Radio's National Productions.